27 April 2009


For the last several days, I've been thinking about a blog renaming. I've been blogging as Rose Deniz since 2005* (I can't believe it!), when I began doing handbag design. Now that I'm not exclusively doing handbags anymore, it makes less sense to me to have my blog be branded with my name. My handbag label is Rose Deniz, very pretty and pink, but I might be ready for a change for the blog. I'm brainstorming names, but nothing as of today has jumped out at me. I want something that is not my name, but is yet more personal. Does that make sense?

The other has been a mad obsession with fabric as of late. I have a cart loaded up on Etsy of Heather Ross, Heather Baily, and Anna Maria Horner fabric, and if I hit 'Checkout' at this very moment in time it will set me back a few hundred. Yes, that's right, hundred. So I need to pare down, and make horribly difficult decisions like buy by the yard, metre, or fat quarter. If I buy the fat quarters, I get more designs, but small surface area. So then I vascillate back to the yard, and realize I must have all of the patterns, hence the indecision. And the nail biting. Can I? Should I? Oh, why not? But then, the reality of shipping; to where? To Turkey where I might not get the package? To my parents who have been politely hoarding my stuff for so many years now?

{The Drawing Room fabric from AMH}

This feels like a Monday morning blech; a little bit back to the grind after my week off, a little bit still on personal holiday. My task, dear reader, if I were to have one, would be to ease back into work. Still do my projects. Still read. Still have breathing space. Still cuddle those little ones, potty train, and make stir-fry.

*Looking at my blog archive, I appear to have started in 2006, but before Blogger, I used Wordpress under the same title. Can you believe I switched from Wordpress to Blogger? I found Wordpress clunky in 2005. Now I kind of which I had stuck with it, but I'm not too eager to save all my images once again and risk losing them again like I did when I switched from one web host to another. That's another story.

26 April 2009


This post will be longer than usual, for me, because I couldn't edit the photos down to just one or two that I liked. This post is also a week late, as the opening was April 16, and today is the 26th. Sometimes my pictures stay on my camera to distill for awhile. I need a little distance before I can post. Here, above, we have a corner shot with opening attendees. Don't you love the little mysterious door below my pink painting? Kind of distracting, but oh well. I love how nearly everyone is wearing black except me. Wait until you see my coat in a little bit...

There you have it. The yellow trench, made to match the other painting of mine in the show, Icy Climb. It wasn't really planned, but I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe a couple glasses of complementary wine helped me feel less self-conscious about it, too. I love the expression on Devrim's face. Part proud, part smarty-pants. He was the only guy wearing a suit, besides the old fellow below. I loved Devrim's suit.

Check out this fellow in the suit and hat in the back. He's great, so much personality in one outfit. He walked in so authoritatively and made his way around the gallery without paying attention to anybody. My kind of viewer.

And here he is again. You might think he is peering thoughtfully at a painting, but really he is standing in front of the wine bar, talking to the bartender. Look at the beautiful tile below his feet. I love the rough worn wood and the inlaid tile next to each other.

My painting, 'Izmitli', from another angle. I'm not sure how many people got the title. It was a bit of an inside joke. I live in Izmit, which is an hour and a half away from Istanbul to the European side. To the Asian side, it takes no more than an hour, even in traffic. However, to Istanbullus, Izmit is the New Jersey of New York. Izmit is considered industrial, vile, and sad (because of the 1999 earthquake). I can't tell you the number of times I've been looked at in disbelief in Istanbul when I say I live in Izmit. The stereotypes are plentiful, and while Izmit has it's flaws, it is my home, and I've grown to love it. It is strangely always a relief to me to be home after a whirlwind day or weekend in Istanbul. Anyway, I didn't mean to digress. The point is, I titled the painting 'Izmitli', meaning, 'from Izmit'. And there's a nice happy factory in there. And everything's pink. You can decide the meaning. It makes me chuckle. I think I'm the only one.

These photos are in backwards order, because here is the Bosphorus Bridge on our way into Istanbul. I'm always trying to catch the bridge and water and coastline while moving on the bridge. On this day, at 4:30pm, traffic was slow and crowded enough that I could get a few pictures.

The graceful arms of the bridge. Slow traffic.

Can you see the Aya Sophia and Blue Mosque in the background?

And the crowd in front of the gallery. It's in a beautiful multi-storied building, the first two floors are a gallery, and the ones above house studio space and figure drawing. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello!

24 April 2009

The Starter Quilt

Throwing caution to the wind, I embarked upon my first quilt. The desire to make a quilt had been growing in me since my grandmother gave me quilt squares made by my great-grandmother almost two years ago. I'm not quite finished with this starter quilt, but nearly so. I didn't follow a pattern. I laid the blocks out on the floor and pieced them together haphazardly. I consulted a few books like Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me only after I had sewn the batting and backing. I eagerly jumped into machine quilting without following any of the proper steps. And what happened? A lumpy, sad crib-sized quilt that would have to hide in the back of the closet in shame, or be repurposed into something else.

But this week was different than most, so the story ends better than it started. Today was my week off, from everything besides domestic endeavors and rest. I had a nasty fall after blacking out two weeks ago (dehydration, low blood pressure) that gave me a minor concussion, and when I came to, I basically realized I had to stop my high pressure routine. I'm still sorting it out, but things are better. I'm not going to move as fast as I had been. And you know what? Even that first week after I fell, I felt guilty while cutting quilt pieces. It was broad daylight and I was supposed to be working!

I knew the problem was me and not anyone else. So, after a nice long talk with one of my dearest friends, she prescribed me not one, but two weeks off. She told me to find a way to move my deadlines back another week. Everything could wait.

So I picked up the quilt blocks and started piecing. Like I said, I did little planning, and it turned out badly. A third grader with a plastic sewing machine could have done better. I rushed. Just like I said I wouldn't. And then, the remarkable thing happened. I said, so what? Fix it.

Since Wednesday, I have been sitting in a cozy chair in my living room with a nice lamp over the quilt, and have been taking out each and every quilt stitch. Today is Friday, and I just finished this morning. Thousands of little stitches. When I first started taking the stitches out, I really resisted it. I got bored. This is similar to when I try to meditate. First eagerness, then boredom, and finally, finally peace. About half way through, I realized I was enjoying myself, and with it came the relief that the quilt could be saved.

{My friend Meg will notice she gave me most of the fabric! The bright aqua and orange flower pattern was a lining I used on my 2006 handbags.}

I ironed out all the little pinpricks from the needle, and will try a different approach to sandwiching the layers. If I had thought about it a little bit, I would have realized most of the quilts my grandmother has made are tied together with bits of colorful yarn, stuck in the center of the square, and not machine quilted at all. I'm not really going for a pom-pom look, but I think I might try some cream-colored x's in select areas.

I'm not sure what next week will look like, but I know it has to retain this feeling of moving at a slower pace, and being more in sync with my energy and my family. I'm looking forward to it.

10 April 2009

Heirloom Quilt

My diversion of the day has been to play around with fabric swatches in order to piece together the remainder of an unfinished quilt handed down to me by my grandmother. The squares were made by my grandfather's mother. This is what one quilt block looks like:

Originally I was thinking to use variations of yellow and brown to bring out the flowers and french knots, but now that I have pleated seafoam green curtains (long story), I really want to tie in the quilt with the curtains to make the color scheme more livable. Not to mention the curtains are a bit frilly, so the pattern needs to be brocade or more elaborate than I had originally planned. How to tie in a vintage quilt with shiny curtains? That's my goal. Ideas?

Yesterday I fell in love with Heather Bailey's fabric, so I made a test layout in Photoshop (pretty haphazardly, I should add), to see if it might work.

These are the fabrics from her website that I love:

And one possible layout... this is pretty rough, however. I kind of gave up after awhile trying to tile them. I think once I had the fabric, I would rearrange the squares more, and make less uniform lines.

I know I should do a starter quilt, not having done one before, but I'm not very motivated to try a difficult pattern -- any suggestions? I have lots of fabric scraps that could be used for a for a patchwork quilt.

09 April 2009

Group Show in Istanbul

I'm pleased to announce the inclusion of my paintings in my first ever exhibition in Istanbul. "Mixed Show" will be open for viewing from April 16-May 17, 2009 at the Beyoglu Akademililer Sanat Merkezi (Beyoglu Academy Art Center). Please come join me at the opening on Thursday, April 16 from 5pm-9pm. Open daily from 10-7pm except Sunday. Contact me for directions!

08 April 2009

Wall Estate at APW

My little bit of wall estate at APW's WOI Vol.2 show. Notice the big yellow arrow directing you to my corner. I magnified many many photos to try to find my humble two. Thanks, APW. Sure must have been a lot of effort to hang 300 x 5 paintings for one show. Hoping my paintings make it back to Turkey as safely as they made it to NY.

07 April 2009

Dhoku Rugs

If I can't have Jonathan Adler's Richard Nixon rug, can I have these by Dhoku, please?